Bedroom Design Q&A

Modern bedroom

Q. I was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas on how I might hang fabric from the ceiling? We have a long, narrow bedroom and have recently put shelves and hanging rods in one end for a walk-in closet of sorts. The only thing we have left to do is to separate that area from the rest of the room stylishly and at a relatively low cost. I was thinking of hanging or draping fabric across the width of the room from the ceiling. The width is about 12 feet. But I really have no idea how to attach rods or the like to the ceiling. I would think that if I just attached them to the walls on either end, that the rod would really sag in the middle.

A. You could use eyehooks. Place one in each wall and one into the ceiling halfway accross. Use picture-hanging wire or plastic clothesline for hanging fabric. Wire can be attached to the first eyehook, threaded through the eyehook on the ceiling, and finally attached to last eyehook on wall. Stretch tight before tying off. Thread half of the fabric onto the wire before inserting the wire into the eyehook on the ceiling, and thread the second section of fabric before tying off to the last eyehook. Or, you can use Velcro, pins, snaps, etc. to attach fabric after the wire has been installed.

Q. I would like to decorate my master bedroom with pale blue walls, dark chocolate brown furniture, crisp white bedding, and natural woven blinds. I don't think the room's light gray carpeting will look very good with the rest of the decor. Can I put a natural/woven area rug on gray carpet? Is there an idea to pull away attention from the carpet?

A. Your carpet could be fine, if you choose the right light blue paint. Many have a touch of gray in them. Snip a bit of the carpet from a hidden area, such as the closet, and take it to the paint store for your initial paint-shopping trip. Find a paint that complements the carpet. You could use a pretty fabric for accessories (pillows, mirror frame cover, braided rug, dresser scarf, etc.) with the light blue, a gray, and the chocolate brown to tie it all together. Consider using pewter or silver hardware on your furniture and doors. You can put a rug on the carpet if you like. It will take the eye away from the carpet. If you are using a natural fiber rug, you could hand paint a border or pattern on the rug using the colors of the room and adding a bit of gray to tie the carpet in.

Sometimes when you have a big item in the room, such as the carpet, which must remain in the room, the best solution is to make it an asset by incorporating it into the design instead of trying to bury it.

Q. My bedroom walls are all white. My carpet is a dark mulkled blue/white/gray mixed Berber, and my bedroom furniture is dark oak. My favorite color is any color of blue, and my bedspread is a white/blue wedding ring. I would like to add more color to room. Should I paint the walls maybe two shades of blue, or is there any other way to add color without painting walls? I am afraid painting won't go with the bedroom furniture.

A. Pull a color from your quilt that's either lighter or darker than your carpet's overall color, and paint the wall behind your bed. You can stop there and it's called an 'accent wall,' or if you love it and want more color, paint the rest of the room. Oak looks great with blue colors, especially if you're doing a sort of country style, like it sounds you are. Just remember - a whole wall of color will look much darker/brighter than it does on that tiny little paint chip, so find the color you like, but buy the color a couple of shades lighter! Then you'll end up with what you wanted. Better yet (if you're really scared), paint it on a 2x3 sheet of poster board first and tack that up to your wall, look at it for a couple days at different times of the day it'll look brighter during the day and darker at night. Also, so you don't end up with something tacky/gaudy, go for a grayer blue than a purer blue. It'll be better. Trust me.

Go for it! Be brave; if you hate it, you can just paint over it, and instead of stark white (which is hideous), just use a light creamy beige/taupe/pale blue/gray color. Any of those would still be worlds better than the white.

Q. Today, I am painting my bedroom. It is going to be a light green a peaceful jade from Benjamin Moore. I have beige carpeting and Maplewood furniture (a full sized bed with head and footrest, dresser, desk, night table and chest). I have tan and light green bedding right now. Does anyone have ideas on how to spruce up the walls maybe? Maybe include a wallpaper border on the top of the walls?

A. The bed should be the focal point of any bedroom, not the walls. Concentrate on the bedcovering, dust ruffle, toss pillows, etc., and the window treatments. Then accessorize. If the walls have a good color on them, which they do, leave them alone. Everything doesn't have to be sponged, ragged, or plastered. If the furnishings and accessories are done right, you shouldn't need to do anything else to the walls, and wallpaper borders are fairly out of style right now anyway. But if you like them, and you can find one that goes well with your fabrics, then go for it.

Q. I am moving into a newly constructed home with all white interiors. Question 1: Is it necessary to paint the vaulted ceiling in the master befroom when I paint the walls? Nothing dark or strong is planned. Question 2: What, if any, prep is required to repaint the walls and trim in a new painted home? Question 3: My foyer/entry, family room, kitchen, and morning room are all connected and adjoined without a doorway. How do I determine the best place for dividing the rooms with paint?

A. Your vaulted ceiling is fresh, clean and white, so you don't need to paint it, if you like white ceilings. If you don't like white ceilings, a very pale version of the wall color is always a good choice. If it was all painted with latex water-based paint, you can just use the same type of paint right over it.

The only places you can change colors are at inside and outside corners. If you have no doorways, archways, or anything, then that's your only choice. You can't simply pick a place in the middle of a wall, draw a vertical line and change colors. With such an open floor plan, you really should try to maximize on that feeling of openness and flow by choosing one color that you can use in all the rooms. Then accent each one differently while still coordinating everything with area rugs or fabrics, etc. You may be able to find an accent wall here and there to define an individual space, but don't try to paint each room a different color. That will just chop up your nice open plan.

Q. I want to paint one of my bedrooms to match my beautiful quilt. I was leaning towards the mustard color. I would like to paint the ceiling an ivory color and then the walls the mustard. There is only one window in the room and I would paint that trim in the ivory. The room is approximately 11 feet x 9 feet. I don't want the room to look smaller but I also like the idea of using more than one color. Should I stick to ceiling and walls being the same color (mustard) with the window trim in ivory? Or go with the two different colors?

A. A lighter ceiling color will give it loft so I would stick with the off-white (ivory) color. As for the walls, the lighter the color, the larger the room will appear. A medium toned mustard should be fine. You say you only have one window - how big is it and does the room get some, a lot, or a little light? This can factor into the choice of "depth of tone," i.e., pastel vs. medium or dark tonal values. Also a well placed, framed mirror helps in making rooms appear larger.

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